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KEEP XREF AT END; pounds 2.5m flotation windfall for Computacenter staff.

About 200 Birmingham employees of computer services group Computacenter are to share in a pounds 2.5 million share give-away when the company floats on the stock market later this month.

The staff are among 3,000 employees who will own a stake in the business after it floats 26 per cent of its stock on May 21.

About 700 long-serving workers will be even better of with their 17.8 per cent stake worth about pounds 180 million. The average payout of pounds 250,000 to these staff means the lowest entitlement will come in at around pounds 15,000 while another 30 ma nagers and directors will become paper millionaires.

Chairman Mr Philip Hulme, who founded the company in 1981, and partner Mr Simon Ogden, will be worth about pounds 331 million each after the float. Each will continue to own about 46 per cent of the business.

Details outlined in Computacenter's pathfinder prospectus, issued yesterday by global coordinator Goldman Sachs, show the group will offer 44.3 million ordinary shares at between 550p and 670p each. At the mid-price valuation, the group will be capitalis ed at pounds 1.04 billion.

Most of the shares being sold are currently held by institutional investors Apax Partners and Foreign & Colonial.

Apax's stake in the company will fall from 21.6 per cent to 8.6 per cent, while F&C's holding will be 4.6 per cent, down from 7.2 per cent currently.

Trading in the shares is due to begin on May 21 and will provide Computacenter with net proceeds of pounds 38.5 million.

Part of this will be used to pay for a new distribution and computer configuration centre at Hatfield.

Chief executive Mr Mike Norris, told The Birmingham Post that acquisitions were "unlikely".

"We plan to stick to our knitting and do what we are good at. The immediate aim is to expand our operations in France and Germany where we have two active businesses."

He added: "We may now look at some small and specialist acquisitions, but the aim will be to adding to our offering of services so you won't see us buying up any competitors."

Computacenter specialises in designing constructing and managing PC-based computer systems for the business market. Its clients include 50 of the FTSE top 100 companies.

In the Midlands, where the company has offices just off the Aston Expressway, clients include Severn Trent, Cadbury-Schweppes, Bass, the National Farmers' Union and Boots.

The group has an established business in France and a fledgling operation in Germany.

The UK computer services sector has shown remarkable growth since the Stock Exchange established a separate technology sector listing at the start of this year.

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 6, 1998
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